The evacuation drive started by the district administration in border villages has fallen flat as most residents have refused to leave their homes until there is firing from across the border.
Residents who had vacated their houses on Thursday were also seen returning, claiming they cannot afford to leave their livestock and crops. Seeking cooperation of residents, additional director general of police (ADGP, law and order) Hardeep Singh Dhillon, additional chief secretary Jagpal Singh Sandhu, deputy inspector general (DIG) AK Mittal and Batala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Daljinder Singh visited the border villages asking them to move to safer places. The team also visited villages that falls across the Ravi. Most families, however, refused to leave their homes, said sources.
The administration is claiming that 30% of the villages have been evacuated, but sources say only about 10% of the people have agreed to move.
“Our repeated requests have had no effect on villagers,” said a senior district official, on the condition of anonymity.
Harbant Singh, an octogenarian from Ghianeke Bet village, said he had lost too much during the 1965 and 1971 wars, and will not leave his home at any cost. “It’s not easy to vacate our places. We have to make arrangements for our cattle and crop,” he said.
The administration has also appealed to the residents in border villages to switch off their lights during the night.
‘ALL FACILITIES AT RELIEF CAMPS’
Speaking to the villagers at Ghanieke Bet near Dera Baba Nanak, Jagpal Singh Sandhu said that the state government had made all the requisite arrangements for the safety of border residents. In the wake of possible military action by Pakistan after surgical strike by the Indian Army across the LOC, the state government has taken all requisite precautionary steps to ensure safety of the people of the border area, he said.
Sandhu said border people of Punjab are brave and hardworking and they have already undergone wars between India and Pakistan.Sandhu said the state government has set up relief camps for those who are migrating from their houses and they will get every facility including fodder for their cattle at these camps.
Sandhu said the district administration has set up 13 camps at Dera Baba Nanak and Gurdaspur blocks.